Prof. Dr. Luka Čičin-Šain participates in RESIST research projects B6 and B9.

My Research Interest in RESIST

Our research focus in RESIST is the identification of HCMV-related immune pathology in aging populations. Our lab will assay the functional capacity of HCMV specific T cells to respond to stimulation by viral antigens and to control HCMV replication in aging populations and will analyse the effect of any immunological dysfunctions on latent viral burden and on clinical disease with inflammatory basis of unknown ethiology.

Prof. Čičin-Šain about his scientific work

Prof. Dr. Luka Čičin-Šain – Curriculum Vitae

Current Position

  • Since 2021 Head of Research Group “Viral Immunology”, HZI 

Undergraduate and Postgraduate Training

  • 1990 – 1996 Study of human medicine at Medical School, University of Rijeka,Croatia

  • 1996 Medical Doctorate (Dr. med.; Supervisor Dr. med. A Fuzinac)

  • 1999 – 2004 Postgraduate studies in Biomedicine at Medical School, University of Rijeka,Croatia 

  • 2004 Master in Biomedicine (Mr. Sci.; Supervisor Prof. Dr. S. Jonjic) 

  • 2006 PhD in Biomedicine (Dr. Sci.; Supervisor Prof. Dr. S. Jonjic) 

Academic and Research Posts

  • 1996 Instructor, Department of Anatomy, Reijka School of Medicine, Croatia

  • 1997 – 1998 Research Fellow, Immunology Group, CMB, Lund University, Sweden

  • 1999 – 2001 Master/PhD Student, Histology and Embryology Department, Rijeka School of Medicine, Croatia

  • 2001 – 2004 Research Fellow, Max von Pettenkofer Institute, LMU, Munich, Germany 

  • 2004 – 2007 Postdoctoral Fellow, Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute – OHSU, Portland, USA 

  • 2007 – 2009 Research Assist. Professor, Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute – OHSU, Portland, USA 

  • 2010 – 2015 Junior Group Leader , HZI, Germany

  • Since 2015 Group Leader, HZI, Germany 

Other Scientific Roles

  • Since 2011 Speaker, Helmholtz Virtual Institute VISTRIE (‘Viral Strategies of Immune Evasion’) 

  • Since 2015 Coordinator of the Infect-ERA network eDEVILLI (‘early Determinants of DNA-Virus Lytic and Latent Infection’)

  • 2016 Member of the Infect-ERA selection committee

  • 2018 Coordinator of the Helmholtz-EU Partnership consortium MCMVaccine

Awards and Prizes

  • 1993 – 1996 Scholarship for gifted students of the City of Rijeka 

  • 2005 DFG Postdoctoral Fellowship

  • 2005 Tartar Trust Award, OHSU Foundation

  • 2011 ERC Starting Grant 

Recommended Links

For further information about Prof. Čičin-Šain’s scientific work please check the following links:

10 Selected Publications

Contreras, NA; Sitnik, KM; Jeftic, I; Coplen, C; Čičin-Šain, L; Nikolich-Zugich, J. Lifelong control of cytomegalovirus (CMV) by T resident memory cells in the adipose tissue results in inflammation and hyperglycemia. PLOS Pathogens 15(6):e1007890. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1007890 

Kasmapour B, Kubsch T, Rand U, Eiz-Vesper B, Messerle M, Vondran FWR, Wiegmann B, Haverich A, Čičin- Šain L. Myeloid dendritic cells repress human cytomegalovirus gene expression and spread by releasing interferon-unrelated soluble antiviral factors 2018 J Virol. 92(1). pii: e01138-17. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01138-17. 

Borkner L, Sitnik KM, Dekhtiarenko I, Tao R, Pulm AK, Drexler I, Čičin-Šain L. Immune Protection by a Cytomegalovirus Vaccine Vector Expressing a Single Low-avidity Epitope. J. Immunol. 2017 199(5):1737-1747 

Dekhtiarenko I, Ratts RB, Blatnik R, Lee LN, Fischer S, Borkner L, Oduro JD, Marandu TF, Hoppe S, Ruzsics Z, Sonnemann JK, Mansouri M, Meyer C, Lemmermann NAW, Holtappels R, Arens R, Klenerman P, Früh K, Reddehase MJ, Riemer AB, Čičin-Šain L. Peptide processing is critical for T-cell memory inflation and may be optimized to improve immune protection by CMV-based vaccine vectors PLOS Pathog. 2016; 12(12):e1006072 

Dağ F, Dölken L, Holzki J, Drabig A, Weingärtner A, Conte I, Geffers R, Davenport C, Rand U, Adler A, Wirth D, Messerle M, Hauser H, Čičin-Šain L. Reversible Silencing of Cytomegalovirus Genomes by Type I Interferon Governs Virus Latency PLoS Pathogens. 2014; 10(2): e1003962. 

Dekhtiarenko I., Jarvis M.A., Ruzcics Z., Čičin-Šain L. The Context of Gene Expression Defines the Immunodominance Hierarchy of CMV Antigens. Journal of Immunology. 2013; 190(7):3399-409 

Čičin-Šain L., Brien J.D., Uhrlaub J., Drabig, A., Marandu T.F., Nikolich-Zugich, J*. Cytomegalovirus Infection Impairs Immune Responses and Accentuates T-cell pool Changes Observed in Aging Mice. PLoS Pathogens. 2012; 8(8): e1002849. 

Čičin-Šain L., Hagen S., Sylwester, A., Siess, D., Currier, N. Legasse, A., Fischer, M.B., Koudelka, C., Mori, T., Axthelm, M.J., Nikolich-Zugich J. Picker L.J. Cytomegalovirus-Specific T-cell Immunity Is not Compromised in Old Rhesus Monkeys. Journal of Immunology. 2011; 187(4):1722-32. 

Čičin-Šain L., Smyk-Pearson S., Fisher M.B., Currier N., Koudelka C., Nikolich-Zugich D., Legasse, A., Tackit S., Axthelm, M.J., Mori, M. Lewinsohn D., Nikolich-Zugich J. Loss of naïve T-cells and repertoire constriction predict poor response to vaccination in old primates. Journal of Immunology; 2010; 184(12):6739-45. 

Čičin-Šain L., Messaoudi I., Park B., Currier N., Planer S., Fischer M, Tackitt S., Nikolich-Zugich D., Legasse A., Axthelm M.K., Picker L.J., Mori M. and Nikolich-Zugich J. Dramatic Increase in Naïve T-Cell Turnover is Linked to Loss of Naïve T-cells from Old Primates. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007; 104(50):19960-5. 


  Prof. Dr. Luka Čičin-Šain
  Immune Aging and Chronic Infections, Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research (HZI)
  Inhoffenstraße 7
38124 Braunschweig
  +49 531 6181-4616